Zesty Orange Cookies

Made with just a few pantry staples, these Zesty Orange Cookies are sure to brighten your day. Orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice infuse each cookie bite with a bright citrus flavor.

Orange cookies stacked and on a plate.

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Soft and tender, these Orange Cookies have a beautiful bright flavor and soft orange color that makes a beautiful addition to any dessert table. 

These cookies are crunchy and bursting with vibrant orange flavor. They are very unique and unlike any cookie, I have tried before. I saw the recipe in one of my Grandma’s old cookbooks and was intrigued from the start. These orange slice cookies taste just like they promised, an orange slice in cookie form!

The best part is that these orange zest cookies are made with just 7 ingredients – and you likely have them all in your kitchen. The dough does need to chill for a few hours but otherwise, the hands-on prep time is just a few minutes. Quick and easy and delicious – no wonder I love these so much! 

Ingredients for orange zest cookies.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Shortening – The key to a light and crunchy, not hard texture.
  • Sugar – Regular granulated sugar is all that’s needed to sweeten these cookies.
  • Egg – Gives the cookies substance and shape.
  • Orange – Both orange juice and orange zest are used to infuse every bite with incredible citrus flavor. 
  • Pastry flour – I opted to use pastry flour over all-purpose flour because in my experience pastry flour provides a lighter cookie texture.
  • Baking powder – Helps the cookies rise.
  • Salt – To balance out the other ingredients. 

What Is Shortening?

Shortening, when referring to baking, is any “fat that is solid at room temperature”. We often think of Crisco, which is the most famous brand, but it can technically be any lard or solid vegetable oil.

Most of the shortening used in baking, like this recipe, is simply solid vegetable oil. These days, you can even find butter-flavored shortening!

A plate of orange slice cookies.

Shortening vs Butter in Cookies

So why use shortening instead of butter in cookies? There are several reasons.

Using shortening can help create a crisp and crumbly cookie and also help to keep them moist after baking so they don’t become hard. Cookies made with shortening tend to not spread as much on the baking sheet as well, since it has a higher melting point. In the case of these orange cookies, that means a slightly taller cookie that doesn’t spread as much. It also gives them a crispy outside but a soft and crumbly interior which in my opinion is the perfect cookie texture.

How to Make Zesty Orange Cookies

These orange zest cookies are so quick and easy to make! 

Begin by creaming the shortening and sugar in a large mixing bowl, with a hand or stand mixer. Once creamed, beat in the egg, orange juice, vanilla, and orange zest until combined. 

To add the dry ingredients, place a large sieve over the bowl. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined.

Cover and chill the dough for at least 3 hours. You can also leave it to chill overnight. 

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll the dough into heaping teaspoons and place them evenly on a lined cookie sheet. I was able to fit 12 per baking sheet.

Watch carefully and do not let the edges brown. I remove them just when they start to turn golden.

Let the orange cookies rest on a baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

You are best to wait until they are completely cooled before gobbling them up.

Why Sifting Dry Ingredients Actually Matters

In some recipes, I recommend combining the dry ingredients separately in another bowl and in others, I recommend sifting them into the wet ingredients. 

In these orange cookies, the dry ingredients should be sifted into the wet ingredients.

Why?

There are a few reasons.

First, it ensures there are no clumps of any of the dry ingredients. It also helps to ensure that they’re evenly distributed in the batter. 

But most importantly, it helps to add some air into the mixture and lightens them up – especially the flour. This is important in these cookies as it helps to make them softer and lighter vs dense. It’s key to achieving that melt-in-your-mouth texture. 

A plate of orange cookies and one with a bit taken out of it.

How to Store Orange Zest Cookies

The best way to store these orange slice cookies is at room temperature in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag with the air removed. They’ll last for about a week. I don’t recommend putting cookies in the fridge because the moisture in the fridge robs them of their crispy texture.

Can I Freeze Orange Slice Cookies?

Yes, these zesty orange cookies freeze quite well. Allow them to cool completely, then place them in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.

Thaw them on the counter then enjoy them at room temperature.

A plate of orange zest cookies beside a cookbook.

More Easy Cookie Recipes:

Orange cookies stacked and on a plate.

Zesty Orange Slice Cookies

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
Made with just a few pantry staples, these Zesty Orange Cookies are sure to brighten your day. Orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice infuse each cookie bite with a bright citrus flavor.
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Snack, Treat
Cuisine North American
Servings 4 dozen
Calories 84 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 ¾ cup pastry flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Add the shortening and sugar to a large mixing bowl and cream together with a hand or stand mixer.
  • Beat in the egg, orange juice, vanilla and orange zest until combined.
  • Place a large sieve over the bowl and sift in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix until just combined.  
  • Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for about 3 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Roll a heaping tsp of dough into a ball and place them evenly on a baking sheet (12 per standard baking sheet). Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not let the edges brown or remove them when just starting to turn golden on the edges.
  • Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Serve at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 84kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 71mgPotassium: 18mgFiber: 0gSugar: 4g

Notes

Storage and Freezing
Store in a tightly sealed container on the counter for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter at room temperature.
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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